Monday, February 24, 2020

Q&A with Anna Pignataro

Anna Pignataro is the author and illustrator of the new children's picture book The Heart of a Whale. Her many other books include Agatha and Our Love Grows. She lives in Victoria, Australia.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for The Heart of a Whale?

A: The story started as a poem inspired by how I thought music would sound under the sea. I wanted to write a story about a big creature that was gentle and kind, unconditional and selfless, who shares his gifts for the good of others.

Q: Did you work on the pictures first or the text, or both simultaneously?

A: Usually the idea of a character comes first and I work on the character sketches before the story but this time the story came quicker than the pictures and creating the artwork was very challenging but fulfilling.

Q: What do you hope kids take away from the story?

A: I’d love children to take away that being kind to others is paramount and that we are all connected, we are all responsible for one another, to care for each other and the earth.

It’s important that children know that out there somewhere, even if you can’t see it, there’s someone or something that cares about you.

Q: Who are some of your favorite picture book author-illustrators?

A: From the minute I was read a Grimm’s Fairytale when I was tiny, the greatest influence for me has always been Arthur Rackham. I also love fellow Australians Tohby Riddle and Gus Gordon. However,  it would be impossible to name all my favourites as there are so many wonderful creators of children’s books.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I have just finished a book about a very special duo, a witch and a bat. It’s called Kit and Caboodle and  it will be out in time for Halloween. I am now working on a picture book about the unique friendship between a fox and a crocodile.

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: My hope is that through my characters and my work I can connect with children and encourage them to use their imagination, to help them to believe that whoever they are, wherever they are, anything is possible.

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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